Greta Garbo was arguably the greatest Anna; her natural
melancholy, her mystique and her haunting beauty fused seamlessly
with the character she portrayed. The film also won the Best
Foreign Film award at Venice and was named one of the 10 Best
Films of the Year by the National Board of Review. Her co-stars
were Frederick March as the handsome Vronsky with whom she has
the tragic affair, Basil Rathbone as her husband Sergei Karenin,
Maureen O’Sullivan as Kitty and Reginald Owen as her suitor
Garbo had already starred in the role in the 1927 silent version,
but she truly defined the character in the talking version. She
is both radiant and vulnerable throughout the film, the centre of
the emotional storm that engulfs her.
Born on September 18, 1905 in Sweden, Garbo was 14 when her
father died, leaving the family destitute. She went to work at a
store, where she modelled clothes, which eventually led her to
acting – and finally to Hollywood, in 1926.
Garbo was nominated four times for an Academy Award and received
an honorary one in 1954 for her "luminous and unforgettable
By 1941 when she retired at just 36, she had made 28 films – but
she had already made an indelible impression on the history of
cinema. She died at age 84 in New York, on April 15, 1990.
The latest adaptation of Anna Karenina, directed by Joe Wright
from a screenplay by Tom Stoppard is a cinematic marvel; it stars
Keira Knightley in the title role and is in cinemas in Australia
from February 7, 2013.